Saturday, July 19, 2008

Week Six (Group)

yaThis week's highlights included:
  • Visiting the Tucson Sector Border Patrol
  • Attending the Duke '12 Sendoff Party
With the whole DukeEngage group back together again, we drove down to Nogales, AZ where the local Border Patrol headquarter is located. There we met with with one of the sector supervisors Omar. He began our tour with an overview of Border Patrol history.

From his presentation, we learned that Border Patrol began with the purpose of enforcing the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1924. Initially, Border Patrol was headquartered in Tubac but later moved to Tucson in '26. Today, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol has jurisdiction over 3/4 of Arizona and 261 miles of the border. They are currently operating with 627 officers and 100 or so of other personnel. During the last fiscal year, they made 90559 apprehensions and confiscated 300077 pounds of marijuana. Omar then went on to talk about Border Patrol's latest security efforts. He talked about the radiation devices they use at checkpoints, the development of Ballard fencing, the use of pepper spray saturation in the tunnels, and the promotion of bike patrols. Throughout his presentation, Omar was also open to questions as well. Consequently, we asked about recidivism, the role of diction, relation between migrants and marijuana trade, and how he views his job as a Border Patrol agent.

During our tour of the office, Omar showed us the muster room where agents are briefed and assigned positions; the equipment room where agents check out necessary equipment; the video control room; and the temporary detention center where migrants are detained for up to 24 hours. The facility was not overwhelmingly large; yet, it had all the necessary space and equipment for operation. There were cubicles, meeting rooms, park lots with overhangs, and a plethora of inspiration posters lining the hallways.

After our two hour tour, we returned to Tucson, and before we knew it, it was time for the Sendoff Party. There we had the opportunity to meet with Duke alums and incoming freshmen. The party was held at a local home and was a small but intimate affair. While we shared what we have been doing in Tucson, we heard various responses and points of view on the immigration issue. It was valuable for us to see how even Tucsonians, who live in the Borderlands, can agree/disagree to various degrees over the issue.

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